Annual Accessibility Measure for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Region

Principal Investigator:

David Levinson, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

Accessibility is a measure of how easily people can reach places they need or want to go to; it's another way of looking at system performance besides congestion measures. "Access to Destinations" is a series of studies through which University of Minnesota researchers have analyzed, described, mapped, and charted how accessibility has changed over recent decades in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region. This project summarizes previous phases of the Access to Destinations project and applies the techniques developed over the course of the project to conduct an evaluation of accessibility in the Twin Cities metropolitan region for 2010. It developed a methodology that can be used to implement future evaluations of accessibility, including a discussion of the development and use of software tools created for this evaluation. The goal of the 2010 accessibility evaluation was twofold: it sought both to generate an accurate representation of accessibility in 2010 and to identify data sources, methods, and metrics that could be used in future evaluations. The current focus on establishing replicable data sources and methodology in some cases recommends or requires changes from those used in previous Access to Destinations research. In particular, it is important to standardize data sources and parameters to ensure comparability between multiple evaluations over time. This evaluation recommends data sources and a methodology that provide a good representation of actual conditions, that are based on measurements (rather than models) that provide a reasonable expectation of continuity in the future, and that are usable with a minimum of manual processing or technical expertise.

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